Cork & Pig Tavern redefines comfort food
The Fort Worth location opened in 2016 but closed four years later. We still miss it. But the Shops of Southlake location brings back good memories of a well-rounded menu of American classics along with wood-fired pizzas, and there’s a nod to Fort Worth from the So. 7th margarita, pictured, on the cocktails list. The former Herencia location is inviting, with dark woods and walls of windows. The small bar has been lively on each of our visits and the patio tolerable even on sizzling days, thanks to large overhead fans. If you’re looking for a light meal, opt for the smoked salmon and a glass of white pinot from Oregon. The flaky fish is served with slices of crusty bread and tartar sauce. A heartier entree is the wood-grilled pork chop, cooked perfectly and served with a bourbon sauce.
For a side, we skipped the carbs in favor of C&P’s Caesar salad. Instead of a more traditional pizza, we opted for the pastrami pie, which was a bit heavy with the pickles on top, but it tasted even better the next day. Add the banana cream pie with its nutty crust to chef Felipe Armenta’s long list of excellent baked goods. Brunch includes West Texas Biscuits & Gravy and Banana Oatmeal Pancakes.
Shops of Southlake, 1431 E. Southlake Blvd., 817-865-6464, corkandpig.com
Stella Ristorante Italiano: It’s a dinner party
Reservations are highly recommended for the small space, which opened in April. Even bar seats fill quickly. Italy native and owner Paola Pedrignani is a veteran restaurateur from New York City, who doesn’t hesitate to pitch in with service. Don’t go for a quiet, intimate experience — expect a party instead. There’s a lot of chatter, singing and music. But the elbow-to-elbow seating works, and the people-watching is excellent. We started with octopus carpaccio, delicate slices simply dressed in EVOO and topped with arugula, pink peppercorns and shaved Parmigiano, and ended with a bowl of gelato that could have fed three. For the main course, our veal Milanese came with a healthy serving of ripe cherry tomatoes and slices of red onion, and the housemade pasta is worth every calorie. We recommend spaghetti with shrimp in a creamy lemon sauce and the penne vodka with bits of Italian bacon; servings are generous. Pizzas range from a classic Margherita to “gourmet” pies, some with shaved truffles. The wine list leans Italian with several options by the glass.
Southlake Town Square, 242 State St., 817-912-1588, stellarestaurant.co
Lili’s Bistro returns with the new and the familiar
Closed since mid-February, this Magnolia Avenue staple is back with old favorites (yes, the Gorgonzola fries and turkey burger made the cut) and new menu items. Some dishes that were occasional specials have earned a permanent spot on the menu (don’t miss the Double Duck Gumbo with wild rice). The interior also has been refreshed with more memorabilia of Fort Worth icons such as Mrs Baird’s. Live local music returns, too, Wednesday through Saturday.
1310 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-877-0700, lilisbistro.com